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NASA's Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Yesterday, NASA announced their spacecraft Juno has reached Jupiter orbit. It was launched almost five years ago to investigate the largest planet of the Solar System, especially its past.

Juno approaching Jupiter; simulation.
Image: NASA.

Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, said, "Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America's birthday another reason to cheer — Juno is at Jupiter". He also added the spacecraft would help study the evolution of the Solar System and explore Jupiter's radiation belts.

NASA spent US$1.1 billion for Juno. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reported Juno was confirmed in Jupiter's orbit at 0353 UTC. Including the camera, the probe has nine scientific instruments. Juno has covered 2.7 billion kilometres (1.7 billion miles) to reach Jupiter.

NASA said non-essential equipment was turned off for the approach. They expect photos in some days. The first orbital revolution period is 53 days. Juno is expected to orbit the planet 37 times keeping an altitude of 5000 kilometres (3100 miles) above the Jovian clouds and then fall into the planet in 2018.

NASA's Galileo, launched in 1989, found evidence of saline water on Jovian satellites Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

The electronics have been encased in titanium to protect them from high-energy radiation.


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